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VCU Life Sciences

Julie Charbonnier

Integrative life sciences
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Julie Charbonnier grew up in the bustling, cosmopolitan city of Paris. These days, the life sciences Ph.D. candidate spends her time in more remote sites in Central America and Europe researching amphibians. To some, Julie’s switch in venues may sound a bit extreme. Au contraire. The locations fit her chosen career path perfectly.

After attending college in Pennsylvania, Julie enrolled at VCU specifically for its master’s program in biology with James R. Vonesh, Ph.D., as her adviser. The program maintains a reputation as one where professors encourage conversation and collaboration. Julie says faculty members kept their office doors open and welcomed her when she popped in to ask questions or just chat. She found the atmosphere nurturing and supportive.

Since finishing her master’s, Julie has earned a Fulbright Fellowship. She will collaborate with a Spanish scientist to investigate the ecological consequences of climate change on amphibians in Southern Spain, one of the regions in the world most susceptible to the phenomenon. Also the winner of a three-year graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation, she will use those funds to further her amphibian research at home or abroad.

Following her one-year Spanish adventure, Julie will return to VCU to pursue her Ph.D. — and contemplate her next destination.